American Vampire: Vol. 1 is a collection of the first five comic issues that tell the tale of the vicious vampire, Skinner Sweet. The legendary Stephen King joins creator Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque to trace the first American vampire’s bloodline throughout U.S. history – and it’s a bloody ride.
Volume 1 of American Vampire is set in two time periods – it begins with Scott Snyder’s story, set in 1920s. We meet Pearl Jones, a struggling actress hoping to make it big in Hollywood. The unfortunate and naive Pearl is brutally attacked and left for dead, that is, until Skinner Sweat steps in and offers her the chance to wreak vengeance on those that destroyed her life.
The second half of the tale, told by Stephen King, contains the gruesome origins of the wicked Skinner Sweet. We’re taken back to the Wild West in the 1880s, where we learn about Skinner’s criminal past as a human and the powerful vampire he eventually becomes. And this American vampire isn’t any ordinary bloodsucker, he’s evolved and is bigger and badder than any of the old ones could have imagined.
Kickass artist Rafael Albuquerque captures the two different time periods perfectly. In the first half, the pages are full of old-school Hollywood glam and class. When it came to depicting King’s story, Albuquerque was dead on, making the panels grungier and perfectly Western. Same artist, but two unique and flawless styles. His artwork was one thing that impressed me the most.
Overall, American Vampire: Vol. 1 was awesome. You’ve got a real badass horror story full of deadly and terrorizing vampires, which is exactly what this vampire-flooded world needs nowadays. Horror fans will love the macabre artwork and narrative, and others will simply love the refreshing change in vampire story-telling (you have to admit that the weak and whiny vampires get real old real fast). I definitely recommend this graphic novel to anyone looking for a classic horror story.
This hardcover edition, which contains an introduction by King and early artwork, hits bookshelves October 5, 2010.